Steve switched to the wide view camera so he could see both Laura in her chair and Lenora in the gibbet. He picked up the headphones to listen in. Putting them in the same area was an experiment, to see how they would interact with each other.
The two women were a stark contrast. He had checked Laura’s record. This wasn’t her first visit to the Center. From what he could infer Laura had a temper that was unpredictable in occurrence or ferocity. It might be a long time before she left the Center again.
Lenora was the opposite. He knew from the intercepted emails and online chat conversations she had an unambiguous opinion on the relationship between men and women, an opinion that would not win her any friends in politically correct circles. She made no secret of her interest in dominant men. She also made it clear what she saw as her role. That fascinated him.
Lenora’s sudden outburst made him sit up. She had raised her voice, which would require a reprimand of some kind. But what she was saying was the interesting part.
Steve almost laughed at the mention of the thumbcuffs. They weren’t necessary for security purposes. She wasn’t going anywhere. They weren’t tight enough to cut off circulation but were a nasty combination when used with the hinged handcuffs. They were uncomfortable, but would she break down and risk the gag in order to beg him to remove them?
When Larry came back to help transfer Laura, Steve decided to put an end to it. The moment he opened the door to the punishment room Lenora halted her rant. Even angry she had the presence of mind to remember how to behave. He decided to let her off with a little extra time in the cage.
Back in the office he watched her on the monitor. He couldn’t see her expression; that was one of the drawbacks with those solid head enclosures. From her posture, her body language, she seemed to be resigned to her confinement. He checked the time. Another hour or two should be sufficient. For her it would seem to be twice as long.
The Best of Times…
I tried to think of some part of my body that didn’t hurt. My legs, my neck, my back, my shoulders, and especially my thumbs all throbbed in pain. Again and again I tried to move around, to find some position where a little part of me didn’t ache. Whoever designed this cage had a sadistic personality. No matter what I did it only seemed to make matters worse.
I wondered about that Warden. I thought it was odd he kept showing up to take charge of me. I had seen several others in the secure area, but somehow he was always the one assigned to supervise the group I was in. To keep track of them I had named him ‘First’, since he was the first Warden I saw in action, the day I arrived at the Center. The way he had come in, taken charge, reassured us and calmed things down was impressive. I could use some of that reassurance now.
I closed my eyes, telling myself I only had five more minutes to go. I can last five minutes. I knew it wasn’t actually going to be five minutes, but it was a goal I could focus on.
I heard the door open. When I opened my eyes I could see again. He stood in front of me, arms folded. Was he expecting something from me? I looked at the gag on the wall behind him. No, I wasn’t going to be the one to speak first. I stood there, waiting.
“You’d like to get out of there, wouldn’t you”? He waited. I didn’t say anything. “Answer me.”
“Yes, sir,” I kept it short. I was in unfamiliar territory here. What was he doing? What was I supposed to do? Of course I wanted out, but why would he ask me?
My hopes rose when he unlocked my cage. He reached down to remove the belt around my knees. I couldn’t see but I felt the shackles coming off my ankles. When he stood back up I took the opportunity to bend first one knee and then the other. The instant relief felt wonderful.
I was still tethered to the cage by the helmet around my head. He didn’t continue though. “Here’s what’s going to happen,” he began. “I’m going to release you in a moment. We will go to the outer office. There’s a bathroom there where you can clean up. “
“I’m going to trust you,” he continued. I hung on every word. I was more than willing to follow his every command if it got me out of this cage. Especially if it got those awful thumbcuffs off. “You will remain silent, unless it’s necessary that you ask for assistance. You will not be restrained.” It sounded better by the second.
He released the enclosure around my head and took hold of one arm to help me out. He kept going, pushing me to the far wall. I knew that routine, stand up straight, head high, eyes forward. Then a miracle, the thumbcuffs came off! I was in heaven.
The real surprise came when he unlocked both pairs of handcuffs. I let my arms drop to my side. The relief in my shoulders felt wonderful. I heard the padlock pop open, followed by the chain falling away from my waist.
He left me standing there for a minute or so. I heard him walking around behind me. I assume he was putting away my restraints. It was another weight off my mind when I heard him shut the door to my recent cage; he wasn’t going to put me back in there.
“You’re doing well,” he told me. “Let’s go into the front office.” He took hold of my arm. I had a chance to look at the cage next to mine. Laura was in there, with that enclosure around her head. I saw her eye slot was closed too. I couldn’t see her hands behind her back but I hoped she had some of those thumbcuffs to keep her company.
As I expected, the outer room was an office for the Wardens. There were two desks, with monitors, which were switched off. There was a table and chairs. I had to study a wall once more, while he closed the door to the punishment room. After that he turned me around.
“There’s a bathroom behind that door.” He pointed to a closed door. “You have permission to take a shower. You need not hurry.” A shower all to myself, now that was a real luxury. Hot water did wonders for sore muscles.
He led me over to the door. Before he opened it I did the wall routine once again. This time it was a little different. He turned me around so my back was against the wall and then took out a keychain from his belt. I had no idea what he intended until he started to unlock the chastity belt. “There are cleaning supplies inside. I will inspect it when you finish. Remember, I’m trusting you, so don’t let me down.” He put the belt down on the counter inside the bathroom. “In you go. Knock on the door when you are ready.”
He shut the door behind me. I stared at it, surprised and unsure what was happening. We were never left alone behind a closed door unless we were being confined, especially without our belts on. Those only came off during the morning shower, and we were always under constant supervision then.
I confess I took him at his word when he said I didn’t have to hurry. Of course my first task was to clean my belt. I found everything I needed in the cabinet under the sink. I went over every inch, scrubbing first, and then polishing the metalwork. He would inspect the belt before he put it back on me so it had to be perfect.
The hot water was every bit as wonderful as I anticipated. I let it run over my back and shoulders. There was a dryer on the counter so I took the opportunity to wash my hair. For a moment I felt human again.
While drying off with a big fluffy towel I stopped to look at myself in the mirror. My hand went to the collar around my neck. It had been there since the moment I arrived. I could pretend for the moment I was in the real world, as we called it, but the collar brought me back to reality. Whatever else, I was still the property of a man I didn’t even know; a man who didn’t think twice about ordering me into one of those cages, for no other reason than to prove he could.
I finished combing my hair. I straightened up, folded the towels, wiped off the mirror and the counter, and took one last look at the belt. A good thing I checked, since there was some condensation on the metal. I quickly wiped it off and placed it on the counter where he had left it. I took one last look around to make sure everything was in order, raised my hand and knocked on the door.
I stood there, arms at my side, waiting. When he opened the door I was ready, head up, in the proper position. He took his time looking me up and down. It was funny, I thought to myself. Without the chastity belt on, and forced to stand there in front of a man, I felt truly naked for the first time.
He ordered me out into the office and right to a handy wall. When he told me to turn around he had the belt in his hand, looking it over. My cleaning work must have been acceptable, for he took out a key from his belt and opened it.
“Display yourself. Hands behind your head, spread your legs.” That was the usual routine when the belts were put on us. He slipped the open band around my waist, pulled it closed, reached down for the centerpiece and brought it up between my legs to the lock plate. For good measure he checked it to make sure it was a close fit. “Remain where you are,” he ordered.
I stood there, in the display position, while he sat down at his desk. He went back to his paperwork, leaving me standing with my back to the wall. Every so often he would look over at me.
He finished whatever he was doing, stood up and faced me. “There’s one more task you must complete before you are returned to your group. It will be difficult, but your master has ordered it. Can I expect your cooperation?”
I didn’t hesitate. “Yes, sir,” I answered. I hoped it wasn’t a trip back to that cage, but if that’s what I had to do then I was prepared for it. As it turned out I needn’t have worried about the cage.
And the Worst of Times
The gag was just as bad as I expected. It completely filled my mouth, pushing down my tongue. Any attempt to speak came out as garbled noise. The straps went everywhere. I couldn’t push it out or work it loose. The Warden tugged on the straps behind my head, making sure they were tight.
“Count to five,” he ordered. I tried but all that came out was unintelligible noise. The foam completely filled my mouth, absorbing and distorting any sound I tried to make.
“Now scream, as loud as you can, as if your life depended on it.” I tried, I really did. I screamed my lungs out, but no one would have heard me. He made his point.
I was back in the punishment room. Not in that cage though. Compared to where I was now the cage wasn’t so bad after all. Looking up I could see my wrists high above my head. They were shackled close together, my hands touching palm to palm. Tape wrapped around my hands and fingers kept them under control. Except my thumbs, which he put in those thumbcuffs again. A chain hanging from the ceiling was locked to the wrist shackles, forcing my arms up, over my head.
There was no cage this time. I was standing in the middle of the room. My legs were spread far apart. Cuffs around my ankles kept me in place. That would have been bad enough, but he made me put on those ballet boots I’d been practicing in. I was standing on my toes. A cuff was closed tight around each boot, above the ankle. The chain on each cuff was locked to a ring on the floor.
With my hands taped together I couldn’t even grab hold of the chain to help relieve the strain on my legs and feet. He picked up a nearby chair and dropped it in front of me. He sat down, put his hands behind his head, leaned back and looked over his work.
“You can struggle if you like. You may speak freely.” He smiled at his little joke. I didn’t see the humor in it. The gag guaranteed I would not ‘speak freely’. I did try to struggle but I got nowhere fast. He knew what he was doing. I gave up, resigned to whatever he intended for me.
He leaned forward, studying me intently. “You look uncomfortable.” That was an understatement. If my picture were in a dictionary it would be under the definition of ‘uncomfortable’. He stood up. “I think I can help you out. How about I get some of this hardware off you?”
I tried to say yes, gave up and settled for nodding my head vigorously. He took out his keychain from his duty belt. “Let’s see, how about we start with this.” He sorted through his keys, stopped when he found the one he wanted. Please, I thought, let it be my ankles.
He inserted the key into the lock set into the front of my chastity belt. A turn and the front shield fell down, swinging between my legs. He pulled apart the belt and slipped it off my waist. He backed up, still standing in front of me, the belt in one hand.
“That should do it. I’m sure you feel much better with it off. You don’t need to thank me.” He sat down again. He made a show of closing the now empty belt, latching it shut.
It wasn’t at all better. In desperation I tried to work a hand loose. He looked up, watching me. He didn’t have to intervene. There was no way I could escape. I had a very bad feeling as to how this was going to end.
He held up the now closed belt. “Would you like me to put it back on you?” That was exactly what I wanted. I nodded again.
He laughed, “This has to be a first, a woman begging to be locked up in a chastity belt.” In frustration I squirmed in my restraints. He was playing with me. I closed my eyes. I was helpless. He could do whatever he wanted to me with impunity.
I opened my eyes when I heard him walk around behind me. I tried to turn my head around to see what he was doing. His response was to grab a handful of my hair and twist my head back, painfully. “Eyes front, stand up straight, head high.” I obeyed without thinking, although the standing part didn’t require any effort. I couldn’t help myself, habits are hard to break. “Remain in position,” he warned. I stared at the far wall, willing my protesting body to not move.
He was behind me, out of sight now. I had no idea what he was doing until I felt his hand on my wrists. He explored the shackles binding them together, running his fingers over the steel and my skin. He finished by running the same hand down my arm to my shoulder. His fingers slipped under my collar, pulling it tight against the side of my neck.
He was close behind me. I heard him whisper in my ear, “You are a most attractive woman, in so many ways.” He let go of my collar. He ran his fingertips down my back. I had to stifle a gasp when he roughly grabbed a breast, reaching around me. “These were made for a man’s touch. Do you miss that?” Order or not I closed my eyes. He was forcing my arousal. I tried to push against his hand. I didn’t want him to stop.
“You make quite a picture,” he whispered again. “Like a fine masterpiece, you have certain aesthetic qualities when bound and helpless.”
My eyes flew open. ‘Aesthetic qualities’ I had heard only one time before. They were the words my shadowy master wrote at that first interview. He must have felt my body tense.
He walked around in front of me. He stood very close, hands on my hips. “Yes, I am your master, and you are my property. Now, I intend to make use of my possession.” That was the moment he chose to enter me.
Out of His Hand
Steve was busy tightening the straps around her ankles when he noticed Lenora watching him. He stood up, looking over his work. She was confined in the restraint chair, bound at the wrists, ankles and torso, leaving only her head free. He went around the chair, checking each strap to make sure it wasn’t too tight, or too loose. She calmly watched him at work.
“Tell me if you start to lose circulation, or if you have trouble breathing.” Steve had the basic training on the proper use of the chair, but he knew it had potential dangers if misused.
“Yes, sir,” she answered. Steve watched her, looking for any sign of distress. She appeared composed, almost curious as to what he was doing.
He released the chair brake and wheeled her out to the office. He parked her at the table and set the brake. She wouldn’t be going anywhere. “Go ahead,” he told her, “You are curious, aren’t you? See if you can get out of it.”
She struggled for a few minutes, trying to slip out of the web straps. Steve was satisfied she was secured. “You missed supper,” he explained, “so I had something sent in for you. When you finish I’ll take you to your cell for the night.”
“Thank you, sir, I am hungry” The tray was sitting on the table. Given her condition he knew it would be extremely difficult for her to eat, since she was immobilized below her neck.
He turned her to the side, away from the table. Pulling out a chair he sat down next to her. “Would you like some help?” He took the cover off the plate. “It does smell good.”
She didn’t answer right away. He noticed she had an odd look on her face. Steve waited patiently for her reply. “Please sir, will you help me? I can’t eat without your assistance.”
Steve picked up the salad bowl and a fork. “We’ll start with this.” He stabbed a piece of lettuce with the fork. “Open wide.” She opened her mouth to take the lettuce off the fork. Steve stopped just outside her reach. She looked up at him, waiting.
He smiled. There was something about seeing a helpless female begging him for a morsel of food. Even an everyday event as simple as eating dinner was completely under his control. He moved the fork closer so she could eat.
Steve took his time feeding her, enjoying the moment. When he held out a piece of bread she took a bite from it. The picture of her literally eating out of his hand would stay with him forever.
When she finished he wiped her chin with the napkin. He pushed the tray back and stood up. She looked up at him, waiting for whatever he would choose to do next.
He still had some time with her. He picked up his chair and shifted it to face her. Sitting down he crossed his arms. “I imagine you have many questions to ask me. You may speak freely. Keep in mind I may choose to not answer some questions, for my own reasons.”
Again she studied him before answering. “Yes sir, I do have questions. What are your intentions toward me?”
Steve nodded in approval. She wasn’t afraid to ask the difficult ones. “My intentions? To own you, of course. By that I mean not just putting a collar around your neck and holding you captive here. Physical control is only a start. I intend to own what I see behind those eyes, your mind, your soul, what it is that makes you so special.”
He stood and leaned over her. Taking her head in his hands he stared directly into her eyes. “I want what’s looking back at me right now. I want all of it. I want to be in there with you, telling you what to think. I want to be that voice whispering in your ear, reminding you of what is allowed and what is forbidden. I want to be your conscience, deciding right and wrong for you. I want my hand on every aspect of your life, pointing you in the right direction, urging you forward when needed, holding you back when you overreach.
“I want mental control over you. I want you so dependent on me you can’t imagine any other kind of life. Those are my intentions.” He let go of her head and sat back down.
Her eyes were wide open, staring at him. There was a confused expression on her face, as if she didn’t know what to say. It took a moment for her to regain her composure. “Why me, sir? I’m no supermodel. A powerful man like you can have his pick of women.”
“Yes I can. That’s not what I want. I look for that rarest of jewels, the one in a million, and a woman who gives herself to her man in ways no other woman can. You are one of those precious few. I would be a fool of the worst sort to let you slip away from my grasp.”
“But, what makes me so special?” She asked. “I’m no different than anyone else.”
Steve laughed, “No, you would be the last to recognize what sets you apart. What makes you special?” He leaned forward, one hand on her knee. “You have a gift no man can resist. You are willing to open up and let me into your head. I want in there; you invite me in.”
“Sir, why did you bring me here? Why the secrecy? Why didn’t you just ask me?”
Steve recognized this was a tricky question. “Ask you? No, that was the wrong way. I think you realize it too. If I had sought you out the usual way, introduction, dating, getting to know each other, we’d be on the path of eventual destruction. That’s why your previous relationships have all failed.
“I saw that. Yes, I know quite a bit about you. I do my research first. The right path for us was this one. You need all the pretense stripped away. I wanted you, I took you. Now you belong to me. You needed someone to seize you, without your consent.”
Skirting the Issue
Today’s practice session held a surprise for me. When the Warden brought me into the practice room there were more boxes on the tables. Something had been added but what it might be left me scratching my head.
When the Wardens left us my instructor pointed to a chair. I sat down and started to reach for the box with my boots. She held up a hand. “No, not yet. There’s something else we need to do first.” I folded my hands in my lap, waiting for her to tell me what to do. It must be related to what was in the new boxes.
She opened the box on her table. Out came a skirt, I’d say about knee length. “We have special permission to put these on while we practice. Always put the skirt on before your boots, and take your boots off before the skirt. Open your box but don’t put it on yet.”
I took out my skirt. It was black, matching the boots. Something seemed odd about it. I watched while she stepped into it and pulled it up over her hips. There was a zipper on the side. The hemline came down to just above her knee.
Now I understood what was different about these skirts. They were very tight and narrowed at the knee. Hobble skirts, they were called. I’d never worn one but I had read about them. Impossible to run in one, and walking was restricted. I began to realize what was coming next.
My instructor sat down so she could put on her boots. When she finished she stood up. Some skin showed, between the knee and boot top. Very conservative, but it had a nice look overall. “You get the idea? The two go together,” my instructor pointed out, smoothing her skirt with her hands. “The boots keep your steps short, the skirt does the same. You do have to watch your balance very carefully with the combination. Between the two you don’t have much in the way of leg movement.”
I could see what she meant. She gestured toward the skirt in my hand, so I stood up to put it on. When I zipped up the side it did go over my chastity belt, but it was a tight fit. I took a few steps back and forth to get used to it. The first impression, restricted. Down to the knee my legs were held close together.
I sat down to put on the boots. There were going to be a whole new set of challenges wearing this ensemble that only a man could dream up. My master did like to make life difficult for me. I still didn’t know why I was doing this. He must have some plan in mind for me.
Standing up wasn’t so hard. I looked over at the mirror. With a nice blouse it wouldn’t be so bad. Those boot heels drew so much attention no one would notice what else I had on. I took a step, keeping the chair within arm’s reach if I happened to fall. As I expected I essentially had to walk from the knees down.
My instructor made her way over to the mirror and handrail. It wasn’t just me; she had to do the same, slow and short. Being very careful to keep my balance, I followed her.
“We don’t have much to work with so you have to concentrate on your legs,” she told me. “If you’re in public, ideally you can hang on to your master’s arm. If you’re on your own, try to stay close to something you can grab to steady yourself. When you go into a room, plot your course in advance. Pick out your islands, places where there’s furniture or anything you can use if you start to trip. Watch out for crowds, like at a party. Someone bumps into you, well, hello floor. If at all possible ask your master to escort you if you do have to walk around.”
Maybe that’s why he wanted me to wear this stuff. I’d have to rely on him even more. It made sense, knowing how he liked to keep me dependent, helpless and needy. To be safe I kept one hand close to the rail while I tried standing for a while.
My instructor did the same. “Get used to it to start. At least we got the short skirts. You should try this with the floor length version.”
I didn’t even think about that. I asked her if she had one.
“Yes I do, several of them. Down to your ankles you can barely walk. It feels like a straitjacket for your legs. The best you can manage is one foot in front of the other. It takes forever to walk across a room. About the only good thing is that it hides the ballet boots. Unless someone notices you are standing on your toes.”
My master would love that. Now I knew what I would be getting for Christmas.
Trust But Verify
Steve switched off the monitor. He made a note to check on longer hobble skirts. Meanwhile her progress today proved he was right in finding a difficult but achievable task for her. The goals had to be his idea. She did best with an assignment imposed from without, rather than working on something she selected. He gave her the resources, in this case the instructor and time to practice. Her own need to succeed, to please him, drove her to stay at it every day.
He had no real plans for how he would exploit her new skills. If he had explained his reasons it would have ruined her motivation, trivializing her accomplishments. But now that he saw how nice she looked walking around in those shoes from hell he would make sure she had the opportunity to show off what she had learned.
How much longer should he keep her in the secure area? Steve had the resources to continue holding her indefinitely, though that had never been his intention. There was always the risk of diminishing returns. Keeping her in here for too long could lead to feelings of disappointment, despair at ever being good enough, even depression. Plus it deprived him of her company. His patience was not unlimited.
Steve considered her progress. Another week or two, that might work. She wasn’t going to leave the Center in any case. All Wardens had apartments, big enough for two. For her it would be a gradual transition, still under strictly enforced rules but without the harsh living conditions. She would be able to socialize, albeit in the company of women like herself. Most importantly, he would still have complete control over her. And if he had miscalculated she could be returned to the secure area on a moment’s notice.
He would keep her busy until the last day. Anticipation might cause her to make a mistake, and at this point he didn’t want to see her subjected to punishment or an extended stay due to an avoidable error. Given her reports he was sure the review committee would approve of her release, which would give him sole discretion as to when she could leave.
Could he trust her outside the secure area? Although she would still be limited to the Center there were outside channels through phones and the internet. With every new arrival’s release there was a calculated risk. In her case Steve doubted she would try to escape or call for help. It still amazed him how fast she adapted to her current circumstances, and how well she responded to authority. No, something like that couldn’t be faked, not for so long or so well.
Even so he’d keep her on a short leash. No computer or phone to start, and he’d carefully monitor contact with the other residents. If she did well, he’d consider a trip to the city to see how she behaved.
Sorting It Out
I lay in bed, rubbing my feet. I finally managed to walk all the way across the practice room in those ballet boots today, and with the hobble skirt on. I had to stop more than once, and toward the end I nearly fell down, but I made it. I’d never be as graceful as my instructor, but she must have been a ballet dancer at one time. The same trip for her looked like strolling in the park. She has a remarkable sense of balance.
My master didn’t let up on my training. Every day I’m taken to the practice room. The woman who is teaching me, and I still don’t know her name, keeps the sessions mercifully short. I don’t think my feet would last through longer ones. I was proud of what I achieved today though. I could now sit, stand, and walk, with or without the skirt on. I still have to learn how to get up if I tripped and fell. She showed me the technique, how to rise from a kneeling position, but that one still needed some practice. With the skirt on even she had a lot of trouble getting up. Right now if I lost my balance I’d need help, unless there’s a handy chair nearby.
This evening the Wardens put me in a cell with two other women I had not met before. We didn’t talk much. They asked about my sore feet but once I told them my master’s order they dropped the subject. When the lights dimmed we all had to go to our beds and lie quietly, which put an end to the conversation.
I had the answer to one question that had bothered me since the first day. I now knew the identity of my mysterious owner. It explained why that one Warden kept showing up. In hindsight I realized he was checking on me. I rubbed my thumbs, hoping he’d never use those dreadful thumbcuffs again. If only I knew more about him. What was he like?
He relished controlling me; that was a certainty. The intensity of his answer when I asked his intentions still overwhelms me. I’ve never come across a man quite like that before. I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about it, and what I should do. Or to be precise, what can I do? I don’t think I can stop him, or if I even want to.
Why did he put me in that spread position, in those boots? I could guess the answer to that question, fun and games. That was one more item I knew about him. He wouldn’t hesitate to use me as he saw fit. Surprisingly that didn’t bother me at all. In retrospect I wouldn’t mind if he did it again, though I’d be happier without those shoes torturing my feet. And without those awful thumbcuffs; I hoped to never see them again.
Why did he put me in the cage? Lying there in my bed I thought about it. Unlike other men I’d been with, this one didn’t show any hesitation about exercising his power over me. It might well be a case of what I used to call ‘just because’: he put me in there just because he could, and I had no way to prevent it. It had not been a pleasant experience but I felt no resentment against him for doing it. The additional time he added on was my own fault. If anything he had been lenient in not making me wear that gag at the same time.
I ran my fingers over the collar. I couldn’t deny it now. He did own me. He got his wish, he was inside my head. That little voice which used to whisper to me now screamed in my ear if I even came close to doing anything that might earn his disapproval. From the moment I wake up everything I do, even what I’m thinking about, is shaped by what he wants.
I closed my eyes, still touching my collar. That offer to come here had delivered everything it promised, and then some. My doubts were gone, at least concerning my new master. He wasn’t ever going to let up, or go easy on me. Cathy and Paula had warned me; now I had to be perfect. He had demonstrated he wouldn’t tolerate anything less. It was up to me to prove to him I deserved to be his property.
Then there was the question about myself. I had some uncomfortable facts to face about how I felt. He came into my life, took it over, and now I can’t even think about living without him. He was right. It goes beyond mere obedience. We are in a partnership, but one where we both work together to accomplish his goals. And my goals in life? Whatever they were before now, and I really can’t remember, they aren’t relevant any more. What’s important to me now is to be the woman he sees in my future.
I had a newfound appreciation of what being dominated meant. I was now an enthusiastic participant, encouraging him to run my life in any way I can. I know some women like me play those “what if” games. What if he tells you to walk off a cliff? It’s a silly game. He’s never going to recklessly endanger me. I’m his treasure, he’ll never let me go, and that’s my own little bit of security. He has my unconditional trust; I truly believe he will take care of me from now on.
I thought back to that lecture, about synergies. Was I now part of a greater whole? It was easy to define my master’s strengths. His determination to get what he wanted, his intensity when he spoke was overpowering. There was no hesitation, no indecisiveness in the way he acted.
Perhaps that did bring out my strengths too. My willingness, make that my need, to obey him created a harmony between us. His guidance made a better woman of me, and in return I made him a better man by tempering his ferocity, by focusing that raw power on how he can best shape our future together.
I didn’t recognize the room where the Warden, and now my master, had taken me. There was another door on the far wall, with a sign warning it was an exit from the secure area. To either side were lockers. Along one wall were a table and two chairs.
A soon as we came in the first door he put me up against the wall. That was nothing unusual. I waited while he closed the door behind us. From the sound I could tell he sat down in one of the chairs but my ears weren’t sharp enough to tell me what he was doing.
I waited, hands cuffed behind my back. I listened intently but couldn’t figure out what was happening. From the glimpse I got coming into the room, it looked like some kind of exit from the secure area to the rest of the Center. Was he going to take me somewhere else, outside the secure area? I knew it did happen on occasion, but there had to be a special reason.
Finally he offered an explanation and with it the best news since I arrived. “Today will end your stay in the secure area. You have exceeded everyone’s expectations, your reports recommend your release, so I’m satisfied you no longer need to remain here. You will be living in our apartment here at the Center from now on. And you need to know, in case anyone asks, you belong to me, Steve Garren.”
If I had permission I’d be jumping up and down, screaming with joy and hugging my master. It was to be my last day. My master was releasing me. I had made it! We would be living in his apartment at the Center. Instead I stared at the wall, hoping this would be the last one I ever studied so closely. It took all my willpower to hold still, but I had that voice in my head, shouting at me this would be the worst possible time to be disobedient. This day of all days I had to be on my best behavior, flawless in every respect.
I heard him open a locker. “I ordered some clothes for you. You can look for more online. Later on we’ll go shopping in the city.” I heard him behind me, going through the locker. Of course, he had to inspect it first, even if he had put everything in there beforehand.
There was no question so I didn’t reply. He came over to me, knelt down and removed the leg irons. When he stood back up he unlocked the handcuffs. I let my arms fall to my side but didn’t move. “You have permission to get dressed.” He turned me around with a hand on my arm.
For the first time in, well, I still didn’t know how long, I was allowed to put on some everyday clothes. Hanging in the locker there was a skirt, a sleeveless blouse, underwear, and my old shoes. Since my original clothes had been destroyed I had nothing left except what he provided for me.
I finally got a good look at the room we were in. Two doors, one marked as the Center side. The other door had a sign that left no doubt as to what lay beyond.
S E C U R E D A R E A
Beyond this point, females are required to:
1) OBEY ALL ORDERS FROM WARDENS
2) REMOVE ALL CLOTHING AND JEWELRY
3) WEAR IDENTIFYING COLLAR
4) BE ESCORTED BY A WARDEN OUTSIDE A ROOM
5) WEAR A CONTROL BELT
6) WEAR RESTRAINTS WHILE BEING ESCORTED BETWEEN ROOMS
The lockers had to be for women who were allowed to move back and forth. Easy enough to enter, but leaving was far more difficult. Conspicuously absent from the sign were any regulations for men. Not that I expected to see any.
Steve sat at the table while I got dressed. He was reading over some paperwork. I wondered if it was about me, but I dare not ask. When I finished I stood still, waiting for his approval. It felt odd to have shoes on, real shoes instead of those toe-crushing boots. The skirt was a bit tight over the chastity belt but nothing like that hobble skirt. Overall the whole combination was conservative enough to be acceptable in an office. Except for the collar around my neck; that would still generate some comments and stares in public. No one would mistake it for a necklace.
“Turn slowly,” he ordered. I did as I was told, gradually spinning around so he could better check my appearance. “Very attractive, I approve,” he said. That was a relief. If he didn’t like it he could easily take the clothes away. Or worse, he could leave me here in the secure area. “Are you ready?”
That was a question so I could answer, “Yes, sir.” I turned to face the wall, hands behind my back, feet slightly apart.
“Restraints won’t be necessary this time. In the future you will keep your arms at your side until I tell you to place them behind your back. You can turn around.”
I dropped my arms and turned to face him. That was another change I’d have to learn. “Yes, sir, I understand.”
It felt like summer vacation after elementary school. That old song ran through my head, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks.” Except my version was more up to date, “No more Wardens, no more walls, no more instructors’ dirty looks.”
Steve unlocked the door. Taking hold of my hand he led me out of the secure area. “Let’s go home.”
“You put in quite a bit of work,” Steve began, “so I think you deserve a graduation party.”
I looked up from my book. “Sir?” I asked. I wasn’t sure what he meant.
“Going through the secure area is a lot like going to school. You made it out, you graduated. It’s traditional to have a party to celebrate.” He was sitting in his big easy chair, doing something on his laptop.
I put my book down and sat up on the couch. Out of habit my hands went to sitting position, carefully crossed in my lap. He required my attention. “Yes, sir. It sounds like fun. Is there a room we can use?” The apartment was much too small for parties.
He typed in something on his keyboard. “Yes there are, available in two different sizes. I’m thinking nothing too big, maybe 20 or 30 people tops.” I knew all those people would come from the Center. It would be interesting to meet more of our neighbors.
I start thinking about throwing a party. Decorations, some kind of theme, and then there has to be food. “Sir, what about catering?” I knew from what Steve told me the Center was in the middle of the desert. Given the isolation and the need for both secrecy and security there were no outside services allowed in.
He typed some more. There must be a website for the Center. I didn’t have permission to use a computer yet, but Steve assured me that was temporary. “The cafeteria can handle it, if we give them enough notice to order the food. They can provide the booze too.”
That was the start of my first project since leaving the secure area. Steve gave me permission to manage the arrangements, starting in the morning. I still wasn’t allowed to use a phone so I had to make several trips to the cafeteria to get the catering and decorations ordered. I picked the larger room so there would be space for chairs and serving tables. Then I had to get invitations sent out through email. Steve left everything to me, although I had to get his approval to place the final order with the cafeteria, and he had to send out the email invitations.
Come the day of the party I was so excited. The cafeteria staff had assured me everything was ready, the room was decorated in the high school reunion theme, RSVPs were in from the invitations, and I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I did have to get dressed for it, but I needed Steve’s permission first.
Steve still had his uniform on from his shift in the secure area. He was sitting at the kitchen table, looking over the mail. It seemed like a good time to ask. “Sir?”
He looked up. “What is it?”
“May I get ready for the party? I want to take a shower before doing my hair.” I waited, hoping he would let me start.
“Sure, go ahead. However, you will ask for permission before dressing. Now, clothes off.” I immediately stripped in front of him, as fast as I could. “Display,” he ordered. I put my hands behind my neck, elbows wide, and spread my legs. He took out his keychain, unlocked my belt and placed it on a chair. “Make sure this is clean, too. Take it and your clothes with you.”
I picked up my clothes and the belt, carrying them into the bedroom. First task, as always, was to clean and polish the belt. When I finished I carefully placed it on the bed. He always inspected the belt before putting it on me. Since we were going out tonight I knew I’d be wearing it. He insisted I have it on anytime I left the apartment.
I took my shower, washed my hair and ran the dryer over it. I also ran the brush through it as I did every night. I had never been too good about brushing my hair before but Steve made it mandatory so I never missed a day. When I came out of the bathroom there were several boxes on the bed. He was waiting for me.
For a moment I panicked, thinking I had taken too long. I froze in position, prepared for the worst. Steve saw my reaction, smiled and reassured me. “You’re okay. I have a surprise for you. Come over here.” He pointed to a spot on the floor in front of him.
I let out my breath, relieved I wasn’t in trouble. He put his hands on my shoulders. “I picked something out for you to wear to the party. I know, men have a terrible fashion sense. I won’t argue the point. However, this one time it’s what I want.” That was all I needed to hear. I hoped it wasn’t a burlap sack, or even worse one of those tiny club dresses. I was long past the expiration date to wear something that short and low cut.
“First of all we need to take care of the basics.” He picked up my belt. “Display.”
My hands went behind my head and I spread my legs far apart. I automatically went into that position every time I heard that command now, without even thinking. After he locked the belt in place he gave the waistband an extra tug. He always did that, supposedly to make sure it was secure but I think it was to remind me I had it on. He put a hand under my chin and lifted my head so I could look at him. “You know, I never get tired of seeing you in that thing. I don’t know how you do it. It has to take some effort on your part to tolerate it. I want you to know it’s worth it. Come here.”
In an instant I was in his arms. I loved his big arms around me, holding me tight. I’d wear that chastity belt day and night for the next ten years if it’s what he wanted.
He let go of me. “Here’s what you’re wearing tonight.” He opened the first box. Inside was a sheer silk blouse, a light pink in color. It shimmered in the light when he picked it up. He put it down on the bed. “You will leave the top two buttons open.”
“Yes, sir.” It was sleeveless, to show off my shoulders. I learned quickly he had a preference for bare arms. He let me pick out my clothes, but everything had to be approved by him before I could place an order. He didn’t hesitate to reject my choices either, which left me with a very limited wardrobe. He decided I would only be allowed a skirt and blouse during the day, but if we were going out he gave me more leeway, permitting me to either choose a dress or skirt. As for length he was very specific. Just above the knee for the skirt, but I could go a little higher, or lower, on the dress.
The next box held that familiar black hobble skirt. I looked at the last box. I knew exactly what was inside it.
When he took out the ballet boots I wasn’t surprised at all. So this was the reason for all that work in the practice room. This really would be a graduation party tonight, with the final exam thrown in.
I can do this, I told myself. All I had to do was remember what I’d learned. I looked up at Steve. “Go ahead,” he said, “what is it you want to say?”
I took a deep breath. “Sir, will you help me tonight? May I hold onto your arm, at least until we get there? And if it’s convenient, maybe you could help me circulate? I’m not sure I can do this by myself.”
He stroked my hair. “Of course I’ll help you. I want you to show everyone what you’ve learned. You’ll be the center of attention.”
He left me alone while I got ready. The skirt and blouse didn’t look bad, maybe a little on the retro side. All I needed were gloves and one of those pillbox hats to wind the clock back to 1962. At least the belt didn’t show through.
All that was left were those boots. I sat on the bed, looking at them. This was going to be a marathon session tonight. I picked one up and unzipped it. There was no point in putting it off any longer. The hobble skirt kept my knees close together so I had to lean over to put the boot on. The second one followed. I was already looking forward to getting home tonight so I could get Steve’s permission to take them off.
Then it hit me, what if he didn’t give me permission? No, I didn’t want to go there. Bad attitude, my little voice told me, get back inside your box. Whatever he decided would be best for me.
I stood up, ready to go. I took a minute to get my balance, walking on carpet was tricky. I remembered my instructor’s advice: look for islands. The doorway was the first, and out in the living room there was the couch and his chair. I plotted my course and began navigating toward my destination where I could dock at the back of the couch.
Steve was sitting in his easy chair when Lenora came out of the bedroom. She was a sight, balancing on those shoes. He had a newfound appreciation for all the work she’d done. She made her way from the bedroom door to the back of the couch. He watched in appreciation, particularly the attractive way her legs and hips moved under the tight confines of her skirt.
“Sir, as you can see I can’t walk very fast. May we leave early so I’ll have extra time to get to the party room?” He saw in her face that she was genuinely concerned. Of course, he could let her remove the boots and walk there in her bare feet. She didn’t ask, just as well since he had no intention of letting her take them off. Normally the two of them could easily walk to the party room, but this wasn’t a normal case.
Steve checked his watch. The solution should be arriving shortly. He wasn’t going to make her walk that far, it would be cruel. He smiled, knowing she would be riding in style. “Not to worry, I’ve made other arrangements.” She looked relieved, but curious as to what he meant. He didn’t elaborate. She would find out momentarily.
“Sir?” She looked a question at me. That was her way of hinting that she wanted to know. At that moment the doorbell rang. She wouldn’t have to wait long for an answer.
“Perfect timing,” he told her. He held up a hand. “Stay right there, don’t move. Your chariot has arrived.” Naturally she had no idea what he was talking about. That was something else he enjoyed seeing, her mystified expression when he let slip some tantalizing bit of information.
Steve opened the apartment door. Joe, a fellow Warden he met on his first day, was outside. “Here you go, Steve. Bring it back when you’re finished. I’ll see you later at the party.”
Lenora’s eyes were wide, watching him closely when he wheeled in the restraint chair. She still had one hand on the back of the couch, to steady herself. “I anticipated your difficulties. You can relax while I drive.”
She looked the chair over. “Does it turn into a pumpkin at midnight, sir?”
Steve laughed. “You sit down. I’ll do the rest. Not to worry, my Cinderella, we don’t have to rush out at midnight. And you will not lose one of your slippers.” He gestured for her to sit while holding out his hand to help her into the chair.
“This was my second choice,” he told her. “My first thought was to simply throw you over my shoulder, caveman style, and carry you to the party hall. But then I’d have to carry you home too, and who knows if I’ll be that steady on my feet.”
“This is fine, sir,” she said hastily. “I wouldn’t want you to sprain your shoulder on my account.” Steve figured she didn’t care for the idea of seeing the world go by hanging upside down.
Steve laughed, “Okay, you get comfortable and I’ll strap you in. For your own safety, of course.” She sat down, smoothing her skirt to keep it from sliding up. It was a little awkward getting those high heels on the foot stand but she managed. “Good, now your arms go on the armrests.” She unfolded her hands and put an arm on each rest. Steve secured the straps on her wrists and elbows. Next he fastened the torso straps, two over her shoulders, one across her waist and one across her thighs. “Not too tight?”
“I’m fine, sir.” She was examining her arms, testing the straps. Steve knelt down to fasten the straps around her boots. More straps went across her lower legs and knees.
He stood up, examining his work. “How’s that? Anywhere it’s too tight, or too loose?” She twisted her hands, trying to free herself.
“No sir, it all seems to be in place.” She looked up at him. “I can’t move, sir.”
Steve checked one more time. He would have been surprised if she could move around. That restraint chair was well designed. He took the head harness off the hook in the back of the chair. Putting a hand under her chin he turned her head left and right. She tensed but didn’t protest when he opened the harness straps.
“No, on second thought this won’t be necessary.” He tossed the harness on the couch. Steve never intended to use it, but it didn’t hurt to keep her guessing. He put a hand on her shoulder. “Okay, you wait here while I change my clothes, then we’ll go. We should have plenty of time to get there before any of our guests arrive.”
Out for a Ride
I dreaded the long walk to the party hall. Steve’s reaction when I asked him for extra time left me puzzled, but I was relieved he had already thought about it. I would be spending considerable time on my feet, or rather my toes, tonight. Whatever he had in mind, and I couldn’t figure out what he was going to do, had to be better than sore feet before the party even started.
I was discreetly docked at one of my islands, one hand on the back of the couch. I jumped when the doorbell rang. The moment Steve wheeled in that chair I knew exactly what he had in mind. In hindsight it was obvious, what better way to get me there and back? In the real world he’d never get away with it, except maybe a Halloween costume party. At the Center no one would think twice about it.
I took his hand to steady myself as I sat down. For the second time I found myself in one of the restraint chairs. The seat, back and armrests were padded so it wasn’t uncomfortable. There was another padded area behind my legs, below the knee. I lifted up to straighten my skirt and slide back as far as I could.
Once I was ready he started with my arms. One strap went around each wrist, and a second set held my elbows against the back of the armrest. Straps from behind the chair went over my shoulders. There was a large waist belt too, which fit tightly over my chastity belt. Another strap went across my thighs. He finished off with my ankles, pulling taut a strap around each boot. More straps went across my legs below and above the knee.
Steve asked me to check to make sure I was held securely. I squirmed, trying to slip out a wrist or maybe pull free a foot. He did his job too well, below the neck I was stuck to the chair. He was very thorough when he wanted me helpless. His alternative, arriving with me over his shoulder, was not appealing in the least. I’d take the chair over that undignified means of transportation anytime.
I was to wait while he dressed. That was some of his humor. He had a guarantee I would be exactly where he left me when he came back. I did get a reprieve of sorts, he left my head free. I was sure he would finish the job with that harness but for some reason he relented at the last minute.
I made use of my limited freedom to take a closer look at my little prison. Out of curiosity I twisted a wrist in the web loop, trying to reach around to the buckle. I could turn my hand but the buckle was out of reach of my fingers. Even if I had a key to open it I couldn’t free myself. I couldn’t see my legs but a quick test confirmed I couldn’t move either one. For one final test I tried shifting my weight, to see if I could get the chair to move.
It didn’t budge. I knew there was a brake on the wheels from what I’d seen when they were handling Laura. These chairs were designed to hold violent men more than twice my size, so it made sense I had no chance to escape. I was satisfied my master had me under control. I leaned my head back against the headrest and relaxed, waiting for Steve to return.
It didn’t take him long to get ready. He looked nice in a casual suit. It was the one I suggested he wear. Maybe I had no say, or very little, over my own wardrobe, but in return I got to pick his clothes. As long as he agreed to it, my little voice reminded me. That was the one crucial difference.
“Anything else before we go?” Steve asked. He picked up my purse and hung it from the chair handle on the back. That was my only question, and he answered it. I would be allowed to take a purse after all. I didn’t really need it but it was traditional.
“No sir, I’m ready.” As ready as I can be, I thought to myself. Much like the rest of my life now I had little or no idea of what to expect. In a very literal way I had to depend on Steve to watch over me. I wasn’t too concerned though. These people were my real peer group, men and women like myself who had a different and sharply defined view of respective roles.
He released the brake on the chair and turned me around toward the door. It was a small consolation but this was a rare occasion where I didn’t have to inspect a wall while he opened a door for me. Out in the corridor I again had the luxury of sitting, but he did turn me away from the door so I couldn’t see him. That was typical for a Warden, I told myself. They develop habits too, like the way they automatically try to minimize what we see. Even though I was released from the secure area Steve still kept close control over my access to the outside world.
We were on our way. Compared to what I was used to, the corridors in this part of the Center were much nicer. They were carpeted, there were signs at intersections and doors had either numbers or names on them. I saw one of the red stop signs for corridors where unescorted females were forbidden. Steve had told me about that. We might not be in the secure area but women were still not allowed to leave the Center without permission. He would have to escort me past the guards at the exit. If I were ever found in one of those marked corridors on my own I’d be in serious trouble.
We passed a few other people on the way. No one remarked on my chair though I did see some lingering glances. When we arrived at the party room Steve brought me in through the front entrance. It was perfect, decorations, tables and chairs, a wet bar set up in the corner and a place for serving trays. I looked up at Steve, standing next to me. “The cafeteria did a great job, sir.”
He rested a hand on my shoulder. “I think so too. It should be quite a party, thanks to the work you put into it. I’ll check on the food.” He went through the rear door, leaving me in the middle of the room.
I really wanted to walk around and check on the preparations myself. Since I was the hostess I was responsible for ensuring everyone had a good time. But he had left me in the chair so there wasn’t much I could do. In frustration I pulled at the straps on my wrists. It was a futile gesture. I had to settle with twisting my head left and right, trying to take in as much as possible.
Steve came back. “They just about have everything ready.’ He stood in front of me, a smile on his face, enjoying my predicament. “You’d like out of there, wouldn’t you?” He enjoyed asking that question. It emphasized how much I had to rely on him.
It really was a rhetorical question. Of course I wanted out, but I couldn’t phrase my reply in blunt terms. When you have nothing to negotiate with subtlety is all that’s left. “That’s your choice, sir.” Which it was, there was no way I could get out of the chair on my own. If he wanted to leave me in this thing the rest of the night I’d have to make the best of it.
He knelt down to start with the straps on my legs. I held still, waiting for him to finish. He saved my wrists for last. When I was finally free of the restraints he held out his hands to help me up. And that reminded me I still had on those boots. The thumbcuffs moved down to second on my list of things I would prefer never to see again.
Luckily I had hold of Steve’s arm to steady myself. He led me over to one of the tables, where I held onto the back of a chair. “I’m okay, sir. I needed a moment for my legs to recover.” I let go of the chair to demonstrate I could stand on my own.
He took my chariot, as he called it, into the back room so it would be out of the way. I started to make a circuit of the room to check the preparations. When Steve came back he stopped me with a hand on my arm.
“Before the guests arrive, here are your party rules.” When he spoke like that it required immediate attention. He had a stern, serious expression. “You may not leave the room without permission. You may speak freely but be respectful and do not interrupt when a man is talking, even if he’s making a fool of himself.” I smiled at that one. “You may speak to other men on your own, but if you are with me, wait for permission. And if I motion for you to come to me, you will do so immediately. You do not require permission to sit, stand or eat. Is that clear?”
It wasn’t too different from my normal rules. I didn’t have to stay with him, but I did have to keep an eye on where he was. It did feel strange knowing I could go to a table without asking first. “Yes sir, I understand. If I may, I will have to sit down often.”
“Of course, whenever you need to rest.” He held me at arm’s length. “I want you to enjoy the party. Meet the people here, make some friends. I don’t want you to feel isolated while we’re living at the Center.”
It didn’t take long for our guests to start arriving. I made a point of welcoming everyone as they came in, meeting them at the door. The catering people brought out the food, and the bar began serving drinks. I got permission from Steve for a glass of wine. It had been a long time. Even though he had told me I could help myself I felt better asking him.
Steve wasn’t the only one who kept his property under close control. The woman who had been teaching me how to walk in the ballet boots came in with her master. Steve introduced me. I finally learned her name, Maria. I found out talking to her later she didn’t know my name either. What was interesting is that she came in with her hands behind her back. Her master released her as soon as she was in the room. I felt better knowing I wasn’t the only one subject to a master’s whim.
Three times women came up to me to ask about my shoes. I sent them over to Maria since she was the expert. Steve got that right; it did make me the center of attention. I drew a lot of stares when I walked around.
The biggest event of the evening for me was seeing Laura arrive with her master. I found out she had just been released from the secure area the day before. I could tell she was nervous, from the way she kept watching her master. I didn’t know what had happened to bring her to the Center, and it would be impolite to ask. Whatever the reason, I suspected she was out on parole with the threat of an immediate return to the secure area hanging over her head.
While mixing with the guests I ran into Maria again. “I bet you’d like to sit down,” she suggested. “How about we use that empty table over there?” She pointed toward a table in the corner. I quickly scanned the room to locate Steve so I’d know where he was, before making my way to the table.
“So now we know the reason behind the sessions,” Maria started, as soon as we sat down. “How are you doing?”
Out of habit I sat in position, hands in my lap. Maria leaned back in her chair, one arm on the table, her hand around the drink glass. “I’d give anything to get these boots off, but otherwise no problems so far. At least I haven’t fallen on the floor.” I checked again to see if Steve had moved.
“You seem to have started a small fashion trend. My master tells me I will be holding more sessions in the near future. I hope those women realize they have to go through the secure area to get to the practice room. It’s the only one in the Center.”
I nodded. Some of them would be in for a surprise if her master ordered training. There are no exceptions for females in the secure area; the same rules apply to all women regardless of the reason for being there. “Careful what you wish for? For the moment my master is satisfied with me practicing on my own.” Which was true; I did practice in those boots about every other day. “I have a strong incentive to keep to the practice schedule too, considering the alternative.” I did not want to go back to the secure area, even for a short visit.
At that moment Maria crossed her ankles. I looked around, fearful someone might see her. Steve had been clear on prohibiting me from even crossing my ankles, much less my legs. In the secure area punishment was swift and assured if we were ever caught sitting that way. I leaned over and whispered to her, “Maria, quick, you crossed your ankles!”
She didn’t seem to be concerned about it. I got a quizzical look from her. I looked around again, certain one of the men would have seen her by now. “Relax, Lenora, I have permission,” she told me. “I’m not in trouble. This isn’t the secure area, different rules here. My master allows me quite a bit of freedom. I gather you still have to follow the straight and narrow?”
Of course her master would have his own guidelines for her. I should know better. “Yes, I’m sure you know my Steve is a Warden. He makes a few allowances but overall not much has changed. I apologize, but if Steve ever saw me do that…” I didn’t want to think about what would happen. He’d be furious, and worse, disappointed in me.
That’s when I saw Steve raise his hand and wave at me.
Even Such a Woman
Steve watched Lenora navigate across the room, as fast as possible given her limitations. When she arrived he held out his arm for her. She took it in both hands, a look of silent thanks on her face.
“Yes, sir?” she asked. “Do you need something? Can I get a beer for you?”
“No, I’m fine,” he answered. “We were talking about that Shakespeare play, and the famous monologue at the end. You know which one I mean? Where the husbands call for their wives at a party?” She recognized some of the men talking with Steve, other Wardens.
“Indeed I do know it, sir, by heart. You mean The Taming of the Shrew, one of the Bard’s comedies.” She paused, checking to see if she should continue. Steve nodded his permission.
“At the end, the men bet they can summon their wives from the main hall at a party. None of the others succeed, leaving Petruchio the last one to try his luck. His wife is the infamous Katharina, the foul tempered shrew he tricked into marrying him to get her rich dowry. He sends a page to summon her, and then he waits, and waits.
“At the last moment she bursts through the doors, dragging the other wives behind her. That’s when she delivers those lines I love.” She looked up at Steve, to see if he wanted to hear them.
“It’s a classic,” Steve added, “and so politically incorrect I’m surprised it hasn’t been banned from universities. Go ahead.”
Lenora took a deep breath and let go of Steve’s arm. “The part I love the best is:
Such duty as the subject owes the prince,
Even such a woman oweth to her husband;
And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,
And not obedient to his honest will,
What is she but a foul contending rebel
And graceless traitor to her loving lord?
I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace,
Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love, and obey.”
Lenora paused to catch her breath. “The end is the most beautiful:
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot,
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready, may it do him ease.”
With great difficulty she bent one knee and extended her hand to Steve. Bursting with pride he took her hand to help her rise. He pulled her to his side, put an arm around her waist, and leaned down to kiss her. “Don’t try the kneeling trick again,” he whispered in her ear. “That ending would be much less dignified delivered with you face down on the floor. You did yourself, and me, proud.”
Lenora couldn’t help but laugh, even as she clung to her master.
I could tell it was getting late. Most of our guests had left, the catering people had gone home, and I was dead tired with sore, aching feet making it worse. Steve came over to the table where I was sitting and said, “It’s time we went home. Your chariot awaits, madam.” He held out his hand.
I took it and stood up. My toes were ready to fall off. The sooner I got those boots off the better. I followed him into the back room where he had left the restraint chair. I sat down, ready for the ride home. There was no way I could walk back to the apartment, so it was either the chair or his alternative, me slung over his shoulder.
He released the brake and started toward the door. “Sir!” I almost yelled. He stopped, looking down at me. “Please sir, you haven’t strapped me in.” He might be tired but he still had responsibilities. If I had to ride in this chair I wanted it done right. I did not want to be seen in public unless he had me properly secured. “Remember sir,” I pointed out, “you said it was for my own safety.”
He came around to get a better look at me. “You’re right, what was I thinking?” He started with my wrists, then the straps across my body, and finally he locked down my legs. “There, is that better?”
I put an extra effort into trying to work free. If I had to be perfect then he had to do his part too. “Yes sir, I can’t move. I’m ready to go home now.”
He stood there, arms folded, looking me over. “You might want to think twice next time about demanding I restrain you. It’s easy enough to get into that thing, but I think you will find it somewhat more complicated to reverse the process. You know, I don’t have to return the chair until I go to work. If you like being in there so much, maybe you’d like to spend the night?”
I counted on him saying something like that. I had my reply ready. Maybe I wasn’t allowed to bargain, but I still had an offer he couldn’t refuse. “Of course sir, if you think it best. Although, you would be deprived of a warm, soft, compliant woman to keep you company in bed tonight. I regret causing you to forego your own comfort just so I can spend some quality time in my favorite easy chair.” I look up at him with an innocent expression. Maybe I was pushing the edge but I wasn’t too worried.
Steve shook his head, muttered something about being painted into a corner, grabbed the chair handles, released the brake and steered me toward the door. I wasn’t too concerned about being left in the chair overnight. He might be stubborn but I was learning how to be persuasive.